None of the things we have been taught since our childhood includes setting healthy boundaries. And maybe that’s why we struggle so much when it comes to considering our comfort above others! A common misconception regarding boundaries is that it creates walls between relationships. Another misconception- close relationships need no boundaries at all! Yet another, you setting boundaries might hurt others. Well, I am going to break down all these misconceptions that revolve around boundaries today. And teach you how to respect others’ boundaries as well as create your own, unapologetically.
Let’s first understand what boundaries are and why do we need to set them. Boundaries are a way of making others clear of our expectations about how we want to be treated. It’s a way of respecting ourselves, valuing our opinions and our rights. A person who knows the art of setting and maintaining boundaries lives a much happier life and has stronger relationships than a person who is afraid of being judged as mean and making people feel rejected. If you are the person in the latter category, probably you find difficulty in:
- Saying no to others without feeling guilty
- Sharing information appropriately
- Understanding your needs
Setting boundaries are beneficial in helping you with all these problems and leave you more peaceful. When you know what you want and do not want and communicate it clearly to others, you save yourself from unacceptable behaviours at work, at home, and among your friends.
How to Set and Uphold Boundaries?
First things first, be clear about your needs, what frustrates you, what makes you uncomfortable and so on. Know why you feel uncomfortable with respect to certain behaviours and expectations. Then communicate your concerns. You can’t assume other people to read your mind and understand everything without you having to tell them in person. Truth be told, most people do not have any idea about the limits you don’t want to be crossed in any particular relationship. Now, how are they supposed to realize when they overstep your limits when they don’t even exist?
Know Your Worth
People often have a hard time introducing boundaries when they lack self-esteem and feel undeserving. When you don’t value yourself, others are sure to do the same for you. Therefore, it’s essential to add some activities to your routines that help you overcome the feeling of worthlessness and add a little more love to your perception of yourself.
As already said, communication is the key to healthy relationships. You might feel you are preventing your partner, your boss or your family members from getting hurt by agreeing to whatever they ask but don’t you see you are hurting yourself? Moreover, this habit puts you in trouble and you end up compromising your well being. Is that worth it? I don’t think so. Understand that it’s possible to say what you need and have a good relationship at the same time. It’s not selfish to say no, it’s your right.
Respecting other’s Boundaries
You spent some time, dealt with your issues, pacified the inner voice that made you guilty and finally set and communicated your boundaries successfully. Congratulations! What next? Well, knowing your boundaries and how you feel when they are overstepped is not enough. You need to be also aware of other’s expectations and respect them. And people find this more difficult than respecting theirs. This is because we are afraid of being rejected and when we hear a “no” from someone, it hits us right where it shouldn’t- our ego.
So, let’s learn some of the ways that we can use to accept and respect other’s boundaries just as we learned to respect ours.
Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
You aren’t the centre of the world you know? You can’t deny that you often tend to forget this and see others reactions as if they have they have everything to do with you. But here’s the thing, just as you are nonchalant of most things that you say or do on a day to day basis, so are other people. If they don’t agree with you on something, respect their difference instead of feeling offended.
Asking makes things much simpler than assuming things. If you want to know what other’s boundaries are, ask them. It saves your time and effort. Plus, it allows them to tell you exactly what they want you to stop doing, what is it that annoys them about your behaviour and what do they expect from you. People have time to explain when it comes to explaining what they feel uncomfortable with within a relationship. So, don’t hesitate to ask. It’s a favour you are doing to both the persons involved.
Accept The Differences
Many times people forget that the way they think can be different from others. As a result, they keep pushing someone to do something or continue doing themselves what they think is absolutely normal, neglecting the other person’s opinion about it altogether. Remember, you get to define what your rights are and determine your boundaries? The same goes for them. It’s easy to fall into the trap of best intentions for people you care about, but every individual needs some space and autonomy. You might suggest or advise people but you can’t make their decisions. You’ll make life only difficult for them by forcing them with your intentions if you do that all the time.
Being unapologetic about your choices is far better than building resentment by letting your limits be pushed. By setting, stating, and consistently reinforcing your boundaries, you would eventually become a person who has more stable relationships with less trouble expressing themselves. And by recognizing and respecting other people’s boundaries, you would eventually become a person with more friends, spend less time worrying about other’s reactions and be well-respected at your workplace. I hope these tips will help to start a life with healthy conversations and less acquiescence. Because no matter what you have been brought up to think, you get to decide how people are allowed to treat you and vice versa.